Regional event celebrating the Decade for Family Farming in Europe and Central Asia





The European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) participated to the regional event entitled The future of family farming in Europe in perspective of launching the ”UN Decade on Family Farming (2019-2028)”, which took place on 12 March 2019 in Bucharest, Romania. The program of the event can be consulted here .


The event was hosted by the Romanian Ministry for Agriculture, in the context of its presidency of the European Union (January-July 2019). The co-organizer of the event was the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – FAO, together with the regional office FAO REU. FAO is part of the Joint secretariat[1] of the Decade, together with another UN agency – the International Fund for Agricultural Development – IFAD. The participation of the European Coordination Via Campesina in this event is legitimized by the role played by La Via Campesina in the Governance mechanism of the Decade of Family Farming, being a member of the International Steering Committee of the Decade (ISC)[2].


Far from being a good example of inclusion of family farmers, since these were left out from the organization and follow up of the event, at least it kicked off discussions -comprising their participation- meant to continue for the next 10 years.


ECVC was represented by Ramona Duminicioiu, a Romanian peasant, member of the coordination committee of ECVC, who put forward the vision of small scale family farmers, for the process of implementation of the Decade.


“A strong human rights approach is fundamental for the successful implementation of the Decade and the achievement of the SDGs. We need to use the opportunity to promote the use and application of the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas. The process of the Decade needs to be inclusive and place family farmers – with a particular focus on smallholders – at the heart of the process,’ declared Ramona Duminicioiu in Bucharest.


The key speaking points of ECVC were:


1) Focus on peasants – small scale family farmers – within the framework of the Decade, in Europe and Central Asia. The contribution of small scale farmers to the Decade. Challenges and barriers that small holders are facing.


2) The importance of the human rights approach. Implementation of strategic instruments necessary for accomplishing the SDGs, in the region.


3) The regional process of the Decade. The central role of peasants – small scale family farmers.


The full speech of Ramona Duminicioiu from ECVC can be consulted here.


The event was also attended by a peasant from the Republic of Moldova, president of the Grădina Moldovei association: ‘We believe that through the Decade, we should promote agroecology as a key form of production for ending hunger and mitigating climate change. We also believe that the Decade’s objectives will be achieved by ensuring the full respect, protection and fulfillment of women’s rights, declared Mariana Șeremet, when taking the floor.


The full speech of Mariana Șeremet from Grădina Moldovei can be consulted here.


Following up the event, the organizers of the event published articles with the results of the discussion. The article published by the Romanian Ministry for Agriculture can be consulted here and the article published by FAO-REU can be consulted here.


About the UN Decade for Family Farming


On 20 December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly, in its 72nd Session, proclaimed the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028[3] to serve as a framework for countries to develop public policies and investments to support family farming, and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing family farming from a holistic perspective and including rural poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions[4].


The timeframe of the Decade offers an extraordinary opportunity to significantly contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in an inclusive, collaborative and coherent way, considering that family farming’s multi-dimensionality allows to comprehensively act on the SDGs. The Decade aims to unleash the potential of family farmers as key agents of change in transforming food systems.  The Decade’s multiple objectives can be achieved through integrated actions supported by coherent, cross-sectoral policies, which address the environmental, economic and social dimensions of rural development, while placing people at the centre.


General Objective of the Decade for Family Farming. The Decade of Family Farming will focus the efforts of the international community to leave no one behind by holistically addressing cross-cutting issues that are of concern to family farmers.  A wide range of stakeholders will work collectively to design and implement comprehensive economic, environmental and social policies, and to strengthen the position of family farming by creating conducive environments at all levels.  This will, in turn, also contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.


Facts and figures about family farming


  • 90 percent of all farms in the world, over 500 million farms, are managed by families, and 84 % of all farms are small farms (less than 2 ha). Family farms occupy 50 up to 75 percent of farmland, yet the vast majority are small or very small: farms of less than 1 hectare account for 72 percent of all farms but control only 8 percent of all agricultural land.


  • 90% of the 140 million people involved in fisheries at the global level are small-scale fisher folk, and supply over 60% fish destined to direct human consumption[5]. Despite this significant contribution, the issues constraining the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries remain poorly understood.


  • An estimated 200 million pastoralists herd their animals on rangelands that cover a third of the earth’s land surface, and up to 500 million derive sustenance from extensive nomadic, semi-nomadic and transhumant livestock rearing. They produce animal products in the world’s harshest environments, and significantly contribute to food security in these regions[6] .


  • Family farmers include forest communities. Around 40 percent of the extreme rural poor live in forest and savannah areas[7]. The unique combination of forest and farm resources has created complex natural resource management systems all over the world[8].


  • Mountain farming is largely family farming. Thanks to its small-scale character, diversification of crops, integration of forests, husbandry activities, and low carbon footprint, mountain agriculture has evolved over the centuries in often harsh and difficult environments. Around 40% of mountain populations in developing and transition countries – about 300 million people – are food insecure, with half of them suffering from chronic hunger[9].


  • There are more than 370 million indigenous peoples belonging to more than 5000 different groups and living in 90 countries across all regions. While indigenous peoples account for 5% of the world’s population, they comprise 15% of all the poor[10]. Traditional Indigenous Territories encompass up to 22 percent of the world’s land surface and they coincide with areas that hold 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity[11].



[1] Joint Secretariat of the Decade for Family Farming. As per the UN Resolution A/RES/72/239, FAO and IFAD will lead the implementation of the Decade and support the International Steering Committee (ISC) by serving as the Joint Secretariat of the Decade.

[2] The International Steering Committee (ISC) of the Decade for Family farming is be the decision making body of the Decade, responsible for overviewing and ensuring the coherent implementation of the Action Plan of the Decade.

[3] UN Resolution adopted by the General Assembly (A/RES/72/239)

[4] The Decade Resolution was proposed in early October 2017 by a group of 14 countries lead by Costa Rica co-sponsored by 104 states and unanimously approved at the General Assembly plenary session. A fundamental contribution to its Declaration was brought by the campaigning effort coordinated by the World Rural Forum, and made possible with the support of international organizations, especially FAO, IFAD, IICA, CELAC, REAF and CPLP, as well as over 300 civil society organizations: governments, research centers, private sector and cooperatives, among others.

[5] FAO. 2014. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Opportunities and challenges

[6] FAO, 2016. Supporting Pastoralism

[7] FAO,2018. The State of the World’s Forests. Forest pathways to sustainable development

[8] FAO, 2012. The State of the World’s Forests 

[9] FAO, 2013. Mountain farming is Family Farming

[10] UN, 2009. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

[11] WB, 2008.  The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation


photo: Romania -Dr. Peter Lengyel